Lilah Kemp: the hero version

Cody Hawes is a Lilah Kemp original. (Kristen Reid photo)

By Kristen Reid and Kathleen Stairs, Arts Contributors

Picture this: a small black room strewn with artistic patrons holding mason jars full of wine and a distinct feeling of ripe, undiscovered genius. The Bus Stop Theatre presented the 17th episode of the Lilah Kemp Reading Series on Sept. 26.

The aura of the space and low lighting were dramatic; it would not be a causal showcase. The night started early, with the sound check. Corey Mombourquette, Lilah Kemp founder, casually joked with the performers and crew while fixing last minute details in the low stage-light. The Lilah Kemp series was birthed from the Allan Street Reading series, which inspired Mombourquette to read his own work, and encouraged amateur artists to pursue and share their talents in a comfortable atmosphere. Mombourquette started Lilah Kemp in Feb. 2011, with the help of a friend and patron of the arts.

The theme for last Wednesday’s episode, the second of the season, was heroes. Artists were encouraged to express love for personal heroes or explore preconceived concepts of the theme.

Mombourquette stepped onstage to introduce the series to the audience and the first reader, Cody Hawes, a Dalhousie graduate. It has been few years since her last reading, but Hawes was one of the first writers to read her work with the encouragement of Mombourquette. Hawe’s piece, beautifully written and expertly delivered, was about a teacher from her high school who challenged her into pursuing her love of words.

After the event, Hawes said that writing for Lilah Kemp is a creative workout, and that the “do it yourself” attitude of Halifax encourages and deeply supports the artists and their imaginative enterprises.

The night continued with a reading by poet Matthew Tierney, followed by a bit of music from local band Panos Giannoulis. After a brief intermission, performance artist Brian Riley presented a piece complete with signs and capes, perfectly appropriate for the evening’s theme.     The event was topped off by a highly amusing prose reading from Josh Tibbets and the heartfelt poetry of touring writer, Matthew Henderson.

Hawes, among other amateur artists, is excited to be reading for the next episode, which will be held Oct. 24 at the Bus Stop Theatre.

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Dalhousie Gazette Staff